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Our Favorite Reads

by Meghan Kowalski on 2021-02-12T09:30:00-05:00 | Comments

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. To celebrate, we're sharing a list of our favorite books.


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander is my favorite book because it's the start of a wonderful series AND a mix of many genres. It's not quite romance, not quite fantasy, not quite historical fiction - it's all of those things and more. Reading these books is like traveling along with a friend who leads a very dramatic life. The story is engrossing and Gabaldon's research is so good that I always learn something. - Meghan Kowalski, Outreach and Reference Librarian


The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

This classic takes place in 19th century Russia. A parricide occurs. That's the action. Also, there are a lot of dialogues about God and the problem of radical evil between the two main characters: Alyosha, an Eastern Orthodox monk, and Ivan, a brilliant atheist.  It's a philosophical novel-in part, a polemic against 18th century ideas popular during the age of enlightenment. - Carl Field, Cataloging Assistant


A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A Promised Land is the first volume of Barack Obama's widely anticipated presidential memoir. In it, he details his political rise, the 2008 campaign for president, and what his administration accomplished in their first 2.5 years in office. It was so refreshing to hear a politician speak humbly, passionately, honestly and with dignity. - Melba Broome, Director


Proving the stereotype that you shouldn't ask a librarian what their favorite book is, we have a round-up from our Access Services Librarian, Glen Benedict.

  • All-Time Favorite Book: Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. Terry Pratchett is a master satirist, and Small Gods, the 13th installment in his Discworld series of novels, is his finest work. Not only is Pratchett’s condemnation of fundamentalist religion, authoritarianism, and bigotry still as sharp and relevant as ever, but it’s just as gut-bustingly funny as it was in 1992. A true humanist fable set in a fantasy world that is not unlike ours.
  • All-Time Graphic Novel: All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison (writer) and Frank Quitely (artist). After being poisoned by a fatal overdose of solar radiation, Superman knows his time on Earth is limited and starts working to wrap up his unfinished tasks. Morrison and Quitely use the classic Superman tropes – Lois Lane, Bizarro, the Bottle City of Kandor, Phantom Zone criminals – but give them a 21st Century polish and shine to see what they can mean to a modern audience. The stories are epic, but always find a place for the characters’ humanity to shine through, from Superman comforting a suicidal teenage girl who thinks the world has given up on her, to Lex Luthor’s final revelation when he literally sees the world through his enemy’s eyes – “This is how he sees all the time, every day. Like, it’s all just us, in here, together. And we’re all we’ve got.” The message is clear – everyone, everywhere is important. 
  • Recently Read Favorite Book: Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin. Following a group of friends in San Francisco in the late-1970s into the 2010s, the nine novels that make up the Tales of the City series have been the most consistently pleasurable reads for the last several years for me. Alternating between witty farce, biting satire, ludicrous soap opera, and heartbreaking tragedy (sometimes all in the same chapter), the series also serves as documentation on the ever-evolving nature of the City by the Bay – tracking trends and triumphs through disco, the AIDS crisis, and Silicon Valley over five decades.
  • Recently Read Favorite Graphic Novel: House of X/Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Pepe Larraz (artist), and R.B. Silva (artist). This is the comics collection that I’ve recommended, hyped, championed, and purchased (four different times – once in single issues, three times in hardcover [once for myself, two more times as gifts]) – the most in the last few years. Hickman refreshes Marvel Comic’s X-Men line by introducing a new status quo, one that interrogates the “mutants as minorities” metaphor and allows the characters to break the cycle of tragedy that has haunted them for decades. The X-Men have won a new home, a new nation, and a new future – what now?


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